Elizabeth Haswell, PhD and professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis and postdoctoral research scholar, Dabarati Basu have discovered the mechanosensitive ion channels in the plant’s cells that respond to swelling by inducing cell death — potentially to protect the rest of the plant. The discovery — reported by Haswell and Debarati Basu, postdoctoral research scholar in the Haswell lab, in the June 11 issue of Current Biology — provides insight into how plants sense and respond to mechanical signals, such as cell swelling, rather than chemicals signals, such as nutrients or growth factors. READ MORE.